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Monday, June 14, 2010

New Advocacy Class - Icebreaker Exercise

This exercise is a variation on the opening statement drills Charlie Rose has described in an earlier posting on this blog. I use it at the beginning of the semester as an icebreaker exercise. The students have to interview each other, then give an opening statement or short speech about their interview partner.

I focus the students' efforts by giving them several mandatory interview topics:

1) Hometown

2) Educational background

3) Nickname

4) Favorite movie and why

5) Favorite ice cream flavor and why

It's always quite a bit of fun. It gets the students on their feet, and we always learn something interesting about everyone in the room. When it's over, I explain that this process is similar to trial in several ways: 1) the students have to interview someone and obtain information about them; 2) they have to decide how to organize their statement in the most effective way possible; 3) they have to stand in front of another group of people and tell a story.

I have 14 students in my summer term advocacy class, and it took about 40 minutes of our 100-minute block for this exercise. It's well worth it. In larger classes (I usually have a lecture section with 48 students that is divided into six 8-student labs), we still do the exercise, but not everyone is called on.

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